According to an autopsy report, 51-year-old Edward Starr Cook, III, was discovered after neighbors complained of a foul odor.
Deputies found his remains on Carowinds and Billy Joe drives in the Linden Township around 1p.m. Tuesday. The area is located near the Cape Fear River between I-95 and Fort Bragg.
The state medical examiner in Chapel Hill made a positive identification and determined the cause of death to be multiple gunshot wounds.
"He was shot and we had a difficult time determining if it was a suicide of a homicide, when the weather is so hot the body tends to deteriorate more quickly," Cumberland County Sheriff's Office Spokesperson Debbie Tanna said.
The investigation is ongoing and authorities have not said how long Cook's body was at the location or if he was shot at the location.
There is no word yet on any suspects or a motive at this time.
Meanwhile, Cook's friends say he was the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back and they can't believe anyone would want to kill him.
"If he saw you in the road, he would stop and ask if you needed help," Cook's friend Chris Chinni said. "I've seen Eddie pass out money to people that didn't have any I've seen Eddie tell people who didn't have nowhere to go, come on I got room for you."